From 2360 to 2364, he was the chief engineer of the terraforming station Velara Base on the planet Velara III. Bensen and his fellow terraformers under director Kurt Mandl were under the mistaken impression that the planet was lifeless. In reality, their terraforming project was killing silicon-based lifeforms called microbrains, which attacked Bensen and the rest of the team.
In 2364, the USS Enterprise-D visited Velara III and, after discovering the existence of these lifeforms, the terraforming project was halted. Bensen told Captain Jean-Luc Picard that Mandl and he himself had seen strange patterns in the sand when they began work, but didn't give the unexplained phenomenon's origins a second thought. Faced with the evidence that they indicated possible attempts at communication, he was left unsure. When the planet was put under quarantine, Bensen was taken to a nearby starbase. (TNG: "Home Soil")